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Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Should the Raiders sign Burress?

By Bill Williamson

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Plaxico Burress is the newest talented but troubled wide receiver to enter the free agent market.

Should the Oakland Raiders consider signing him?

The Raiders desperately need receivers and Burress would be a major upgrade. His signing would reduce the urgency to draft a receiver such as Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin later this month. Burress could also team with one of the youngsters to instantly give Oakland a top receiving group and a balanced offense.

It would be tempting. But so was the idea of signing Terrell Owens, and the Raiders clearly didn't consider it worth the trouble.

Burress has big legal trouble that could result in jail time. But the risk could be low because any team that signs Burress will likely be protected financially if he misses time due to his legal situation.

Still, I'm torn on whether Oakland should take a flyer. Yes, Burress is an impact player. He would be a terrific target for quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

But the Raiders are trying to stabilize. They are trying to find team players after striking out on big-money, low-production players last year. Signing Burress would be relying on a past philosophy that didn't work.

This is a tough one because he'd help the cause if he was allowed to play. I believe it's an issue that team officials are currently assessing. Talents like Burress don't always become available.

Ultimately, Oakland should restrain itself. Signing Burress would be a step backward. The Raiders probably need to resist the temptation and take a young, trouble-free receiver in the draft instead.